Descoberta a cidade onde começou a revolta dos Macabeus?

Segundo o jornal israelense Haaretz, são boas as chances de ter sido descoberto o local onde ficava a antiga cidade de Modin, famosa, porque foi aí que o sacerdote Matatias, contrário à helenização da Palestina, começou a conhecida revolta dos Macabeus em 167 a.C. Leia o artigo.


The Hasmoneans Were Here – Maybe

In late 1995, not far from the city of Modi’in, whose construction had begun a short time earlier, several excavated burial caves were found. The find aroused tremendous excitement initially, mainly because on one of the ossuaries an engraved inscription was interpreted to read “Hasmonean.” Had they found a burial plot belonging to the family of the Hasmoneans?

When the discovery was announced, the archaeologist digging there, Shimon Riklin, explained that this was not the grave built by Simon the son of Mattathias the Priest for his father and his brothers, which is described in the Book of Maccabees I. The use of ossuraies – stone containers for secondary burial, in which the bones of the dead who had been removed from their original burial place were placed – began in the second half of the first century BCE, more than a century after the beginning of the Hasmonean Revolt. However, the discovery reinforced the theory that the town of Modi’in, where the revolt broke out in 167 BCE, lay not far from the burial caves, in the area of the present-day Arab village of Midya.

A short time later, the excitement died down. A thorough examination made it clear that the word “Hasmonean” was not engraved on the ossuary. The settlement from which the Hasmoneans embarked on the revolt against the Seleucid ruler Antiochus is still waiting to be discovered, as is the burial plot in which Mattathias and his sons were buried.

New candidates for an old city

In the decade that has passed, two prominent candidates have joined the steadily lengthening list of locations that have been proposed as the site of ancient Modi’in. The most recent is Khirbet Umm al-Umdan, a site revealed in salvage digs conducted in 2001 by Alexander Onn and Shlomit Wexler-Bdolah of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in the area of the city of Modi’in, on a hill north of the road that connects it with Latrun.

Wexler-Bdolah and Onn propose that the site be identified as ancient Modi’in, because in their opinion, it best suits the information in the sources about the settlement in which the Priest Mattathias lived. According to ancient sources, Modi’in was a rural settlement that lay between the lowlands and the hills, alongside the main road linking Lod with Jerusalem.

“In our opinion, the settlement that we have excavated in Umm al-Umdan is a Jewish village. There are houses there separated by alleyways. It is not a large, planned urban settlement, but neither is it a lone house,” says Wexler-Bdolah. “But the most important find is the synagogue we discovered in the village. The synagogue is one of the earliest ever built – it was constructed during the Hasmonean period, apparently toward the end of the second century BCE or at the beginning of the first century BCE, and it continued to be in use, with certain changes, until the Bar Kokhba Revolt [132 CE]. Next to it a mikveh [ritual bath] was built in the first century CE.”

The synagogue is evidence that, in spite of its relatively modest dimensions, the settlement that was discovered at Umm al-Umdan was an important one, says Wexler-Bdolah. Its location, adjacent to an internal Roman road that led from Lod to Jerusalem, and the series of communities surrounding it – Beit Horon, Kfar Ruth, Tel Hadid, Anaba, Lydda-Diospolis, Emmaus-Nicopolis and Timna – also accord with the description of Modi’in on the Madaba map, a mosaic map located in Jordan, on which Modi’in is called Modita. Moreover, the name of the site, Umm al-Umdan, stems, in the opinion of Wexler-Bdolah, from letters in the Hebrew name Modi’in, making it the most suitable candidate for identification with the ancient city.

However, this is only a suggestion, not a certain conclusion. “Because we didn’t find an inscription that specifically says that Modi’in was here, at the moment you could say that there is no better candidate for this role than Umm al-Umdan,” she explains.

Huge settlement in modern Modi’in

Dr. Shimon Gibson, who conducted the excavations on behalf of the IAA in the area of modern Modi’in in the mid-1990s, when the momentum of construction and development in the area began, actually believes that he has a more worthy candidate. That would be Titura Hill, an archaeological site in the heart of modern Modi’in. In his opinion, one day we will discover that Titura Hill is a site of national importance. At the second Modi’in Conference – a one-day seminar scheduled to take place in the city tomorrow – Wexler-Bdolah and Gibson will present their reasons for identifying each of the sites with the ancient settlement.

At the top of Titura Hill a Crusader fortress was built, but in the excavations Gibson conducted with Egon Lass, he found the remains of settlements from many periods. The most ancient settlement was established there during the Iron Age – in the eighth century BCE – and the hill was populated in later periods as well.

Because an inscription declaring the identity of the site was not discovered on Titura Hill either, we can only rely on circumstantial evidence. Among such evidence, Gibson includes the dimensions of the settlement exposed there. “On Titura Hill there was a real city, Umm al-Umdan is only a village. During the Hasmonean period there was a huge settlement on Titura Hill. This fact is of importance, because the Hasmoneans tended to construct monumental buildings, out of a desire to prove their greatness.”

Gibson, a fellow at the Albright Archaeological Institute, says that Titura Hill has another advantage in the competition: On a clear day you can see the sea from there. From Umm al-Umdan, as well as another site mentioned as possibly being Hasmonean Modi’in, this is not possible. This fact accords with the description in Maccabees I, chapter 13, about the burial plot built by Simon son of Mattathias for his family. According to the description, the burial structure was tall and impressive. It included seven small pyramids and large columns with attractive carving that the sailors could see as well. In other words, from the hill one could see the sea. According to a description written hundreds of years after the death of the Hasmoneans, the burial plot remained in place for a long time afterward. It is described in manuscripts from the Byzantine period, by historian Eusebius in the fourth century CE, and on the sixth-century Madaba map. Crusaders who came to the Land of Israel during the 12th and 13th centuries also reported seeing it. But about 400 years ago, the reports about the Hasmonean graves ended.

The search begins

The matter was pushed to the margins of awareness until the second part of the 19th century, when European archaeologists and scholars began to make an effort to locate the town of Modi’in and the graves. The first proposal was that of a French Franciscan monk, who believed that the name of the Arab village of Midya preserved the name Modi’in. Others considered Tel al-Ras, a hill with ancient ruins, not far from Midya, the site they were looking for. In about 1870, a French scholar proposed that the ancient structure near the gravesite of Sheikh al-Arabawi adjacent to Midya was the Hasmonean grave, but another Frenchman, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, rejected the suggestion. In the early 20th century, students from the Hebrew Gymnasia high school in Jerusalem were hiking in the area, and they came to a site called Kubur al-Yahud, Arabic for “the graves of the Jews.” The place is still called “the graves of the Maccabees,” even though it is clear that the structures there were constructed during the Byzantine period, long after Hasmonean times.

The location of the burial plot constructed by Simon the Hasmonean, and the town where the revolt began, have still not been identified with certainty. Wexler-Bdolah says Khirbet Umm al-Umdan is the site with the greatest likelihood of being ancient Modi’in, but she has doubts, too. Gibson believes that Titura Hill is ancient Modi’in. And he can explain why no traces have been found of the monumental construction of the burial plot or the public buildings on Titura Hill: The buildings were dismantled during a later period, and used to construct other structures, like the Crusader fortress on top of the hill.

Fonte: Ran Shapira – Haaretz: 26.12.2005

Jesus e o Evangelho: o que realmente aconteceu?

Começou no dia 21 de dezembro de 2005, quarta-feira passada, interessante debate entre Alan F. Segal, John S. Kloppenborg e Larry Hurtado sobre o Jesus histórico e o grau de historicidade das narrativas dos evangelhos.

Na forma de e-mails postados no site Slate Magazine, formando uma mesa-redonda, os três estão se perguntando: Jesus and the Gospel – What Really Happened? (Jesus e o Evangelho: o que realmente aconteceu?)

Quem são estes três especialistas?

Alan F. Segal é professor de Religião no Barnard College, Universidade de Colúmbia, USA, e ocupa a cadeira Ingeborg Rennert para o Estudo do Judaísmo. Autor de Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West, Rebecca’s Children e Paul the Convert.

John S. Kloppenborg é professor na Universidade de Toronto, Canadá, no Departamento para o Estudo da Religião. É autor de Excavating Q, The Formation of Q, co-autor da Critical Edition of Q, e o editor de Apocalypticism, Antisemitism and the Historical Jesus.

Larry Hurtado é professor de Língua, Literatura e Teologia do Novo Testamento na Universidade de Edimburgo, Escócia, e diretor do Centro para o Estudo das Origens Cristãs. Autor de How on Earth did Jesus Become a God?: Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus e Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity.

Suas obras podem ser encontradas na

Leia: Jesus and the Gospel – What Really Happened?

A batalha de Hamoukar e as âncoras do Mar Morto

Você acompanhou estas duas interessantes notícias de arqueologia?

Em Tell Hamoukar, na Síria, arqueólogos sírios e norte-americanos encontraram os restos de uma grande batalha que destruiu a cidade por volta de 3500 a.C.


A huge battle destroyed one of the world’s earliest cities at around 3500 B.C. and left behind, preserved in their places, artifacts from daily life in an urban settlement in upper Mesopotamia, according to a joint announcement from the University of Chicago and the Department of Antiquities in Syria. “The whole area of our most recent excavation was a war zone,” said Clemens Reichel, Research Associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Reichel, the American co-director of the Syrian-American Archaeological Expedition to Hamoukar, lead a team that spent October and November at the site. Salam al-Quntar of the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Cambridge University was Syrian co-director. Hamoukar is an ancient site in extreme northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border. The discovery provides the earliest evidence for large scale organized warfare in the Mesopotamian world, the team said (University of Chicago-Syrian team finds first evidence of warfare in ancient Mesopotamia).

E no Mar Morto, que está diminuindo drasticamente o nível de suas águas, duas âncoras, com a madeira bem preservada, acabaram descobertas. A mais antiga pode ser datada por volta de 500 a.C., e a outra é da época romana, por volta do século I d.C.


The first anchor, approximately 2,500 years old, was found where the Ein Gedi harbor was once located, and may have been used by the Jews of biblical Ein Gedi. The later anchor, some 2,000 years old, was constructed according to the best Roman technology and probably belonged to a large craft used by one of the rulers of Judea. As the sea recedes further, we may yet get to see the ship to which this anchor belonged. The 2000-year-old anchor, which originally weighed a massive 130 kg., is made from a Jujube tree and was reinforced with lead, iron and bronze. While the wooden parts are very well-preserved, its metal parts have disappeared almost entirely. Their traces have survived only in the crystals encasing the anchor. The design of the anchor is surprisingly modern: there are two flukes which were reinforced with a hook joint and a wooden plate fixed with wooden pegs, and a lead collar. The anchor also had a tripline, which was used to haul it out of the water. The ingenious earlier anchor, with some of its ropes still attached to it, is in an astonishing state of preservation. The oldest Dead Sea anchor known, it was made from the trunk of an acacia tree, with one of its branches sharpened to a point and originally reinforced with metal, to engage the seabed. Amazingly enough, most of the trunk is still covered in bark. The 12.5 meter-long ropes were made from date-palm fibers, each fashioned from three strands and lashed into grooves in the wood. Both anchors were weighted with a heavy stone lashed laterally (The Jerusalem Post).

CBQ de outubro: considerações sobre profetas e sacerdotes

Acabo de receber o número 4, de outubro de 2005, do volume 67 da CBQ – the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. O último do ano, e traz seis artigos:

Sara R. Johnson, Novelistic Elements in Esther: Persian or Hellenistic, Jewish or Greek?
Craig E. Morrison, The “Hour of Distress” in Targum Neofiti and the “Hour” in the Gospel of John
John Clabeaux, The Story of the Maltese Viper and Luke’s Apology for Paul
John Fotopoulos, Arguments Concerning Food Offered to Idols: Corinthian Quotations and Pauline Refutations in a Rhethorical Partitio (1 Corinthians 8:1-9)
Terrance Callan, The Syntax of 2 Peter 1:1-7
David J. Downs, “Early Catholicism” and Apocalypticism in the Pastoral Epistles.

Na seção Biblical News há um Report of the Sixty-eighth International Meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, realizada de 6 a 9 de agosto de 2005, na Saint John’s University and Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. Entre outras coisas, chamou-me a atenção a prestação de contas de Linda Day, editora da revista, sobre a CBQ em 2004: 67 artigos foram recebidos pela revista, dos quais 21 foram aceitos, 28 recusados e 18 ainda estão sendo analisados. Em 2005 a revista publicou 208 resenhas de livros.

Das Resenhas, por enquanto, duas obras analisadas chamaram minha atenção. A primeira foi:

Lester L. GRABBE and Alice Ogden BELLIS (eds.), The Priests in the Prophets: The Portrayal of Priests, Prophets and Other Religious Specialists in the Latter Prophets, London: T & T Clark, 2005. Pp. xii + 230. Este volume traz 11 ensaios que foram apresentados no encontro da SBL de 2002, realizado em Toronto, ocasião em que o grupo dedicado ao tema “Textos Proféticos e seus Antigos Contextos” (Prophetic Texts and Their Ancient Contexts), discutiu o assunto do título.

Lester L. Grabbe, na “Introdução”, sintetizou as posições dos autores sobre o assunto debatido em 4 direções: 1. a natureza do antagonismo, sustentado por muitos especialistas, entre sacerdotes e profetas; 2. o lugar (ou função) do sacerdote nas sociedades israelita e judaíta; 3. a relação dos profetas com o culto; 4. a relação dos sacerdotes com adivinhos, profetas e intelectuais. A resenha foi feita por Dale Launderville, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, que no final recomenda a obra para as bibliotecas, talvez por seu preço abusivo!

Na página da editora T & T Clark, há a seguinte descrição da obra:


Since at least the 19th century Hebrew Bible scholarship has traditionally seen priests and prophets as natural opponents, with different social spheres and worldviews. In recent years several studies have started to question this perspective. The Priests in the Prophets examines how the priests are portrayed in the Latter Prophets and analyzes the relationship between priests and prophets. The contributors also provide insights into the place of priests, prophets, and some other religious
specialists in Israelite and Judean society in pre-exilic and post-exilic times.

Ou seja: estaria ocorrendo, nos últimos anos, uma mudança da postura, assumida pelos especialistas desde o século XIX, sobre a relação entre sacerdotes e profetas como oponentes naturais. Nos últimos anos, muitos estudos começaram a questionar esta perspectiva…

Li também duas outras resenhas sobre o livro e que foram publicadas pela Review of Biblical Literature.

A de Jacob L. Wright, da Universidade de Heidelberg, Alemanha, publicada em 09 de julho de 2005, que assim termina seu texto:

That the prophets’ criticism of the cult was directed at the incumbents of the priestly office, not the office itself, has been forcefully argued from a wide range of perspectives in this volume. After reading it, I am once again impressed by the need for more research on the place of the Jerusalem temple in the politics and economy of Judah during the Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenistic periods. This research is indeed indispensable to our ongoing attempt to appreciate the social and religious factors that motivated the prophets’ criticisms of the priests.

A de Henrietta L. Wiley, Denison University, Granville, OH, USA, publicada em 17 de dezembro de 2005 e que diz, ainda no começo de seu texto:

Most of the questions that these authors address pertain to the history of Israelite religious life. What were historical characteristics of the roles of priest and prophet? How did they interact? To what historical realities of cultic politics and public worship are the authors of the prophetic books responding? Some pieces address these issues as they relate to specific passages in prophetic literature, while others concern themselves with the role of prophets in general vis-à-vis the cult. Among those in the latter category, a number address the idea that there was bitter antagonism between priests and prophets. This notion has dominated Protestant scholarship for decades, if not centuries, with the claim that prophets of Yahweh preached a religion of ethics against priestly legalism and ritualism that sought not to serve Yahweh but to imitate the imitate Israel’s pagan neighbors. Several of the authors in this volume refute this claim quite nicely.

Bom, como gosto de estudar o profetismo bíblico, é algo que devo tomar como uma “provocação” a ser considerada. “Oponentes naturais” eu não diria, mas continuo a ver, em muitos profetas, uma crítica muito profunda ao modo como o sacerdócio era exercido em Betel, em Jerusalém e, talvez, em outros lugares…

Por outro lado, concordo com Jacob L. Wright, quando ele diz que é necessário aprofundarmos o conhecimento sobre a função do Templo de Jerusalém na política e na economia de Judá durante as épocas babilônica, persa e helenística. O conhecimento destes elementos é fundamental para que possamos avaliar os fatores sociais e religiosos que motivaram a crítica dos profetas aos sacerdotes.

A segunda resenha que me chamou a atenção foi:

Louise J. LAWRENCE and Mario I. AGUILAR (eds.), Anthropology and Biblical Studies: Avenues of Approach, Leiden: Deo, 2004. Pp. 324 $29.95 (resenha feita por John J. Pilch, Georgetown University, Washington, DC).

Isto tem a ver com minha proposta de leitura socioantropológica dos textos bíblicos. Mas o comentário desta obra fica para outra ocasião.

Luedemann concorda em manter com M. Goodacre amistoso diálogo

Em Bíblical Theology, Jim West postou hoje mais uma mensagem de Lüdemann. Ele se propõe a manter um amistoso diálogo com Mark Goodacre, já que suas posições não são assim tão divergentes, como algumas ásperas palavras podem ter dado a entender. Sob o título Agreement! Luedemann Responds to Goodacre [Obs.: link quebrado – blog descontinuado], dado por Jim ao post, está a proposta de Lüdemann:

I agree that the two of us are not as far apart as our contentious words may have suggested. I do look forward to further mutually respectful exchanges with Professor Goodacre on matters of mutual interest.Sincerely,Gerd Lüdemann

Jim West sai em defesa de Luedemann e este responde a Mark Goodacre e Stephen C. Carlson

O caso Lüdemann está rendendo…

A defesa de Jim West é uma crítica do autoritarismo presente na Igreja alemã à qual pertence Lüdemann, comparando o caso de David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874), punido quando lecionava na Universidade de Zurique, Suíça, com o de Gerd Lüdemann, afastado, no final do século XX, da cadeira de Novo Testamento da Faculdade de Teologia da Universidade de Göttingen, Alemanha.

Cito dois pequenos trechos da defesa de Jim West:

A very long time ago a gifted young scholar wrote an impressive, indeed, a groundbreaking work. It was a historical investigation of the Life of Jesus and it’s author was David Friedrich Strauss. Strauss was invited, as a result of that work, to teach at the University of Zurich. When conservative reactionaries got wind of the impending appointment they raised such a ruckus that the governing board (to their eternal shame so far as I am concerned), withdrew the call and pentioned young Strauss off. What had begun with the promise of a very fine academic appointment ended in bitter disillusionment. Strauss’s fury was unleashed against the religionists who, according to him, had ruined his life. He spent the rest of his life, a bitter and disappointed man, doing his best to undermine the facile historical ideology of his enemies (…)Fast forward, now, to the 20th century and change locations from Switzerland to Germany. Precisely the same sort of situation arose when Lüdemann published his work on the Historical Jesus. The same fundamentalists (with different faces but the same spirits) objected so loudly, so forcefully, so maliciously, that the esteemed people on the Board of Governors (or whatever they are in the German University system) buckled to the pressure and denied Gerd his rightful place. To their eternal shame, I might add.

Já Mark Goodacre começa seu post de hoje assim:

I have just received this response from Gerd Lüdemann to my comments on his press release (The Christmas Stories are Pious Fairy Tales) and Gerd asks if I would place this in my blog, which I am of course happy to do. I am knee-deep in grading (that’s what they call “marking” here) at the moment but I am looking forward to commenting later. The message below is as I received it from Prof. Lüdemann, with my original blog post in lower case (but combining parts of the press release and my comments) and Prof. Lüdemann’s responses in upper case.

Leia mais:
In Defense of Gerd Lüdemann (em Biblical Theology – Jim West) [Obs.: link quebrado – blog descontinuado]Response to Mark Goodacre and Stephen Carlson by Gerd Lüdemann (em Mark Goodacre’s NT Blog)

A redescoberta de Maria Madalena

Fenômeno que vale a pena acompanhar é a crescente onda de publicações, em livros e artigos impressos e na Internet, sobre quem foi Maria Madalena. Hoje li, cuidadosamente, a FAQ e as diferentes perspectivas sob as quais a figura de Madalena é abordada, presentes no site de Lesa Bellevie, Suas colocações, extremamente claras, pareceram-me muito bem feitas e úteis para quem quiser entrar nesta discussão, que se tornou bem “quente” após a publicação e o sucesso de vendas do livro O Código Da Vinci, de Dan Brown.

Diz a autora sobre as diferentes perspectivas sobre Maria Madalena:

When it comes to Mary Magdalene, there is one word that can be applied more than any other: “controversial.” There are many different views currently in circulation on who she may have been and what her importance really was, so we’re presenting the most popular views that you should know about. Traditional Christian; Gnostic; Apostle; Holy Grail: Bloodline; Holy Grail: Lost Feminine; Beloved Disciple; Temple Priestess.

E recomenda o seguinte roteiro para o visitante de seu site:

We recommend that you start with our Frequently Asked Questions, and then jump to our section about the different perspectives on Mary Magdalene currently in circulation. Afterward, you may wish to check out some of the source documents and sacred writings from the earliest days of Christianity. It is from these texts that scholars have pieced together their pictures of Mary Magdalene. When you’ve gotten a better idea of what it is about Mary Magdalene you’d like to explore, you may want to read some articles exploring different areas of Magdalene scholarship and spirituality.

Além do site, Lesa Bellevie mantém também um blog sobre o mesmo tema, The Magdalene Review.

Resenha de Croatto sobre o livro dos Biblistas Mineiros

Acho que andei meio distraído, mas só hoje é que li a resenha feita por J. Severino Croatto, o saudoso exegeta argentino, sobre o livro publicado pelos Biblistas Mineiros em 2003, História de Israel e as pesquisas mais recentes… Resenha bastante positiva, elogiosa até, em muitos aspectos.

Sobre o livro diz Croatto:

Este livro, tendo como enfoque a problemática do histórico em seus diferentes sentidos, oferece um panorama tanto expositivo, quanto crítico do que os livros bíblicos “dizem” e do que a ciência bíblica investiga.

Sobre o meu capítulo, leio:

Um ensaio sumamente útil para o leitor é o de Airton José da Silva (cap. 3) sobre “A história de Israel na pesquisa atual” (p. 43-87). Os pontos essenciais da problemática histórica: patriarcas, história javista, diferença entre Canaã e Israel, existência de um império davídico-salomônico ou do exílio babilônico, assim como a questão do “Israel” das origens, são tratados de forma muito sintética, mas clara. É excelente a referência aos mais recentes autores que estão discutindo estes assuntos, e valiosa a bibliografia utilizada, que, aliás, inclui dados informativos. Realmente, uma síntese inteligente do tema, tal como está sendo debatido nos círculos acadêmicos.

A resenha está publicada, em português e espanhol, no site do Frei Jacir, organizador do livro. Leia mais sobre a resenha, sobre o livro, sobre J. Severino Croatto, falecido em 2004, visite o site de Jacir de Freitas Faria, Bíblia e Apócrifos.

Livro de Liverani traduzido para o inglês

Saiu a versão inglesa do notável livro de Mario Liverani sobre a História de Israel, Oltre la Bibbia. Storia Antica di Israele, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2003 [2005 – 4a. ed.]. Confira Israel’s History and the History of Israel, London, Equinox Publishing, 2005.

Na página da editora se lê:

One of Italy’s foremost experts on antiquity addresses a new issue surrounding the birth of Israel and its historic reality. Many a tale has been told of ancient Israel, but all tales are alike in their quotation of the biblical story in its narrative scheme, despite its historic unreliability. This book completely rewrites the history of Israel through the evaluation of textual and literary critiques as well as archaeological and epigraphic findings. Conceived along the lines of modern historical methodology, it traces the textual material to the times of its creation, reconstructs the temporal evolution of political and religious ideologies, and firmly inserts the history of Israel into its ancient-oriental context.